Screen Culture

Screen Culture

Ana Melro (University of Aveiro, Portugal) and Lídia Oliveira (University of Aveiro, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7368-5.ch044

Abstract

For several years now, technology usage cannot be separated from screens. Examples include television, computer, smartphone, mobile phone, tablet, e-book reader, multimedia player (music and/or audio), camera and camcorder, watch, digital advertising public panels, virtual reality glasses. In fact, if the goal is to understand what can be considered a screen, the examples will not cease to increase. The major goal of the chapter is to explore the screen definition and the way in which it has emerged in society, in a cross way, almost without being noticed, but ubiquitously, even becoming inseparable from most of the necessary activities.
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Introduction

Technology and media usage cannot be separated from screens. Examples such as television, computer, smartphone, mobile phone, tablet, e-book reader, multimedia player (music and / or audio), camera and camcorder, watch, digital advertising public panels, virtual reality glasses. In fact, if the goal is to understand what can be considered as a screen, the examples will not cease to increase.

The major goal of the article is to explore the screen definition and the way in which it has emerged in society, in a cross way, almost without being noticed, but ubiquitously, even becoming inseparable from most of the necessary activities. Thus, after almost 20 years of Levinson’s (1998 [1997]) reflection and analysis on the need to define a screen taxonomy, it is increasingly relevant to reflect on the screens’ nature and on their effects in individuals’ daily life. So, how did media and screens step into peoples’ lives in such a way a new culture was created and disseminated?

Despite true ontological differences between the artifacts that incorporate screens, there is a progressive process of dilution of the specificities, with the convergence of functionalities and contents. The television becomes interactive and its consumption is increasingly customizable and individualized; the computer and mobile devices allow access to television. One uses the computer to make phone and video calls. The screen as a unifying feature turns out to be the visible side of an ongoing process of convergence that in the short term will be felt more systematically in the consumption and sociability logics.

This has a lot of implications in all sort of societal levels. In the political sector (e-governance, active citizenship in political decisions); economic sector (new ways of communication and business structures) and cultural sector (e-museums). But also at a micro level, with the need to reorganize familial, labor, scholar and leisure processes around media.

Nowadays, technology is perceived as extension of man (McLuhan (2008 [1964], p. 82). By recognizing the change enhanced by media one can also recognize the effect in the new medium (Federman, 2004, p. 2). The way the above mentioned societal practices changed are intimately related to the way media (and the perceptions of media) also suffered transformations.

A screen culture arises (Chambat & Ehrenberg, 1988), accepted by individuals as a second culture. Media are included in individuals’ lives as a second skin, because they are sensitive, ubiquitous and transparent.

Society had suffered major changes and mutations, in order to include media. People comprise media and use them for him/her best purpose. Cyber and screen culture are becoming the focus of social relations of all types (familial, labor and leisure). These were the justifications for the importance of this reflection regarding screen culture.

The article aims to present a state of the art around screen and media uses, their existence and transparency and provide a definition of the concept.

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